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Black Cobra – Chronomega

In the summer of 1993, I saw Miami, FL’s legendary Cavity. Having never heard anything like Cavity, I was floored by their sound and performance. (The singer pulled off his pants and hung upside down from the rafters with dangling cock and balls, shocking the suburban teenage audience). A decade and a half later, Cavity guitarist Jason Landrian continues such musical exploits with Black Cobra.

Chronosphere

The usual names get thrown around when describing Black Cobra: High on Fire, Sleep, Melvins. In contrast to previous releases, this duo (also including Rafael Martinez of Acid King) incorporates more of Cavity’s squalid, Eyehategod demento-metal on Chronomega (Southern Lord, 2009). Though the production leaves a little to be desired, the majestic might of Black Cobra isn’t lost.

Black Cobra never seems to aspire to anything more than unrelenting loudness. This is why divagations stand out, such as the slightly melodic chorus in “Chronosphere.” The faster songs also break up the plodding, torpid passages. I’m sure this band is best experienced live. Yet there’s no reason why a kick-ass live band can’t replicate its power on record. A song like “Catalyst” is thunderous and thick; yet more clarity could have made the music sizzle.

Stoner rock and sludge tend to not care much for dynamics and details. Perhaps it’s unfair of me to demand those qualities from Black Cobra. Though I could use some tricks or risks, Chronomega succeeds in terms of sheer heaviness. Many try and fail to make anything worthwhile out of the elementary arithmetic of guitar and drums. Black Cobra offers rattle, bite and venom.

— Casey Boland

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